D. Kyle Jones
"I applied to the University Scholars Program in order to conduct research that may result in significant benefits to the medical field. From this program, I hope to experience the scientific process from beginning to end and become more intellectually enriched by conducting my own independent project. My goals for the academic year include presenting my research at the annual meeting for Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and publish my findings in an academic research journal."
Microbiology and Cell Science
My research interests involve developing AAV-based gene therapies and pharmacological therapies for retinal and neurodegenerative diseases.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- Florida Opportunity Scholarship
- President's Honor Roll
- Florida Bright Futures
- Florida Academic Top Scholars
- Universities Allied for Essential Medicines
- 2nd place in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
- Distinguished Service Award, Rotary Club
- American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
Physician shadowing in the UF Department of Neurosurgery Volunteer in the UF Emergency Department assisting with patient care Volunteer at St. Francis House assisting with meal preparation.
Hobbies and Interests
- Traveling, reading medical journals, and going to the movies.
The Role of Oxidative Stress in Retinal Pigment Epithelial Apoptosis in a Mouse Model of Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Recent research suggests that such oxidative stress in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) may be a major factor in the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, the role of oxidative stress in RPE apoptosis has not been extensively studied. Significant apoptotic cell death in the RPE during oxidative stress could provide important insight into the mechanisms of retinal damage associated with AMD. This could help with the development of targeted therapies for the disease. The purpose of this study is to determine if oxidative stress in the RPE can lead to AMD-like retinal degeneration and to determine if the AMD phenotype is associated with RPE apoptosis. It is hypothesized that RPE-specific deletion of superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) will result in the AMD phenotype in mice and that significantly higher levels of apoptosis in the RPE will be observed. The mouse model of AMD will be generated through a doxycycline induced Tet-On system of Cre-Lox recombination to delete SOD2 in the RPE. Cre positive mice will be crossed with mice homozygous for the floxed allele of SOD2. Doxycycline will be fed to the mice to induce SOD2 deletion. Controls in this study will be the mice that are homozygous for the floxed allele, Cre positive, and not fed doxycycline. Fundoscopy will be used to examine the retina for physical signs of AMD, such as drusen. Electroretinography will be used to examine the electrical response of the photoreceptors and bipolar cells in the retina. Light and electron microscopy will be used to examine evidence of retinal degeneration. Evidence of oxidative stress will evaluated using western blots for SOD2, 4-hydroxynonenal, and nitrotyrosine. Levels of apoptosis will be examined using an ELISA-based nucleosome release assay and terminal deoxynucleotidyl-transferase dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) staining.